MS M.890, fols. 3v–4r

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Fountains Abbey bestiary

England, probably North Yorkshire
ca. 1325–1350
227 x 152 mm

Gift of Alastair Bradley Martin, 1958

MS M.890, fols. 3v–4r
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Left Page (Fol. 3v)
Bonnacon: The legendary bonnacon, shown here as a curly-horned bull, was thought to defend itself from hunters with a blast of caustic feces.

Ape: At the top of the second column, a hunter pursues a female ape and her twin offspring. Under pressure, she will drop the infant she is cradling, while the less favored one—equated with sin—clings to her back.

Satyr: The bestiary classifies the satyr—shown here as a naked, bearded man with long, curled tail holding its club—as a type of ape.

Right Page (Fol. 4r)
Stag: The stag here may be leaping as described in the text, which also notes that its right horn is best for medicinal purposes.

Goats: A shepherd rests while one of his goats stands on hind legs to feed from a tree. Goats that graze in ever higher pastures were a metaphor for Christians who graze on the law of the Lord and rise from one virtue to another.